Former deputy accused of assaulting detective during child molest verdict
VISALIA — A former Tulare County Sheriff’s deputy who was found guilty of child molestation Wednesday is facing potential battery charges after he allegedly assaulted the case’s lead investigator and attempted to grab her service weapon during his verdict, authorities report.
The defendant, identified as 34-year-old Michael Risenhoover of Pixley, was restrained by bailiffs, tased and removed from the courtroom without further incident.
According to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, after the verdicts for a few of the charges were read as guilty, Risenhoover reached past his attorney and grabbed the detective, who was sitting about six to eight feet away. The Sheriff’s Department reports that Risehoover managed to reach for the detective’s neck and then attempted to grab her weapon.
The detective, a 13-year veteran of the department, was medically cleared and is on leave pending the investigation, according to a news release issued Wednesday.
According to the department, there was already additional court security in the courtroom at the request of the judge and Sheriff’s management, based on the sensitivity of the case, the former deputy’s knowledge of courtroom security, and past statements in relation to safety made by Risenhoover. He was later returned to the courtroom under additional security.
On Wednesday, a jury of 12 reached unanimous verdicts in the case, according to the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office.
The jury trial began on Oct. 23. The jury found Risenhoover guilty of six counts of child molestation, two counts of forcible child molestation, and two counts of sexual intercourse with a child 10 and under.
The jury also found true the special allegation that he had substantial sexual conduct with a child under 14.
Sentencing is set for Nov. 27. Risenhoover faces up to 84 year to life in prison.
Sheriff’s detectives are investigating the assault case. The charges being sought against Risenhoover are battery and obstructing or resisting an executive officer in performance of his duty.
The assault case is under investigation and all who were present in the courtroom at the time of the incident are being interviewed, the Sheriff’s Department reports.
After court, Risenhoover was taken back to a Kings County jail, under additional transport security.
The child molestation case was prosecuted by Deputy DA Melissa Chabra and investigated by Det. Katherine Garcia of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, as well as Investigator Brandon Hall of the DA’s Bureau of Investigations.